Hummus is a simple yet tasty dip consisting of blended chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, fresh garlic and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and cumin. Since the 1970s, hummus has slowly become a national favorite for the American people, offering a versatile, filling and healthy alternative to classic American dips. However, the history and significance of this superfood dip extends back hundreds, maybe thousands of years, and traversed the globe before finally gracing the shores of the good old USA! Here we will be talking all things hummus, and hopefully enlightening you a little bit further about the facts and traditions of this much-loved dip!
The History of Hummus
“Hummus” simply means chickpeas (sometimes called garbanzo beans), in Arabic, and this vitamin-filled legume is the main basis for the dip. The exact origins of the dip are not exactly known but are debated thoroughly throughout the Middle East, India, and the Mediterranean. Many Arabic cultures claim that it was created in the 12th century by Saladin, but in Israel it is claimed that Jewish settlers invented this wonder dip, here it is said that hummus derives from their forefathers and was mentioned in the Old Testament as “Hometz”, a derivative of the Hebrew word “Himtza”, meaning chickpeas. There are even claims that this dish was invented as far afield as the Indian Kush, where traders used locally grown chickpeas and cumin to spice the dip along with a generous helping of ghee butter instead of olive oil. Hummus was then brought to the Middle East via trade routes. So who is right? In actual fact, the likelihood is that hummus was invented multiple times in multiple places, as its simplicity and versatility make it an obvious choice for cultures where tasty flatbread was in need of something to be dipped in!
Hummus is unlike other dips in the US – Unlike ranch dressing, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise and almost all other popular sauces used in the USA, hummus is actually a very healthy option. With vitamin, protein, and fiber-rich chickpeas and garlic, healthy-fat rich olive oil and tahini, and zero additives with trans-fats, refined sugar or E-numbers, it provides the perfect nutritional balance all rolled into one dip! In fact, people in areas of the world where hummus is regularly consumed are much less likely to suffer from heart conditions, diabetes, and cancer than those in the USA, which has been partially attributed to a diet consisting of foods such as hummus. So, move it to the top of your dips list for an auto health boost!
Are we really that different after all? – Across the Arabic world and beyond, hummus is hotly debated. Where it comes from, how it’s made, who first invented it and what it should be eaten with are all debates that play out over dinner tables across this region. However, hummus is one food that differs very little from region to region. The basic ingredients of chickpeas, Tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and a dash of cumin, salt and pepper are the same wherever its made, slight variations including adding hot peppers or dill in Greece, or using Ghee instead of oil in parts of Pakistan and India are simple tweaks that make exploring the world of hummus even more delicious!
Hummus is not only for bread – While Hummus is perfect as a dip for bread, it is equally as great with other dipping items such as vegetable sticks and fries. However, it can be used for so much more than that! Try spreading hummus on burgers, kebabs, on top of baked potatoes, baked with fish, meat or simply as a base for roasted Mediterranean vegetables. Try expanding your hummus horizons and experiment with this super dip!